Julia Blakeley of Cushman & Wakefield’s Irvine (Orange County) was recently recognized by AIR CRE as a “woman succeeding in real estate”. Julia serves as an Associate in Cushman & Wakefield’s Orange County office, where she focuses on Tenant Advisory and Agency Leasing services on a national and global basis. She is also a member of Cushman & Wakefield’s Legal Sector Advisory Group (LSAG), GW Alumni in Real Estate Industry Network, and the American Industrial Real Estate Association (AIR). A young professional, Julia is a star on the rise in the commercial real estate industry.
Below Julia discusses many important topics relative to her role, while also lending great advice to those interested in pursuing a career in brokerage. She attributes her experience as a former and successful Division I tennis player and competitive sports background in general along with a strong belief in herself and her desire to succeed and work in a challenging industry as just some of the reasons commercial real estate was a good fit for her. But it was far more than that, as you will learn from her enlightening view and profile:
In the AIR CRE profile article Julia discusses how she “fell” into real estate:
“I didn’t have any family in the business, nor really any personal connections in the industry. When I graduated from George Washington, I was unsure as to the type of career path that I wanted to take, and in the meantime I had the opportunity to work at my father’s bankruptcy law firm while I determined my next steps.
I realized through watching my father’s business develop as well as be his own boss, that I ultimately wanted to be in an industry where I could really be in a position where I could procure my own client base and ultimately be the maker of my own destiny.”
When asked her thoughts about commercial real estate and why she chose this path, Julia said:
“I think what makes brokerage so unique, is that it enables an individual to be the maker of their own destiny, and that one’s success is predicated on how hard they are willing to work. I am constantly challenged on a daily basis, and my desire to learn and be the best at my craft is complemented well in brokerage. Unlike most industries, there are few barriers when it comes to the type of success that one can achieve at a relatively young age. The only thing that bars you from achieving success in this industry is your mindset, accountability, work ethic and desire to succeed, and that’s what makes this industry so incredibly exciting, as a young person like myself, to be a part of.”
When it comes to challenges, Julia emphasized career development for young brokers may involve the test of mental toughness, desire and self-reliance from a business development standpoint:
“My whole career as a broker has been focused on office and industrial tenant representation, which constantly tests my endurance, accountability and determination. I’m incredibly fortunate to be on a strong team in both my past and present roles, however, the tenant representation side is still highly individualized and competitive, which makes it challenging, but that much more rewarding when you achieve success.
Julia talked about the importance of being an expert in the field and how she adds value to her clients. She also discussed being an effective team player as a junior broker:
“First, being an expert means understanding the market that you are working at the outset, which means having a working knowledge of the market characteristics, trends along with ownership and history of every building, anchor tenants, current lease rates for each project, and which projects compete against one another, among other things.
Second, it is key to understand industry trends from a macro and micro perspective, as well as acknowledging the trends that are impacting specific industry groups as a whole. With this approach, I feel that I’m able to distinguish myself and am seen by my client or prospect as a trusted advisor rather than just a broker.
In addition, it’s incredibly important to understand your respective role, and how you contribute to your team’s goals and objectives. As junior broker, while you might not have the veteran experience of others in a meeting, what you bring to the table to a prospective client is equally as valuable and you must be able to effectively convey this. Effectively communicating my role on my team is important because it ultimately impacts my brand and how I am perceived by my peers and prospective clients.”
We wanted to chat even more with Julia to offer a further look inside her profile, professionally and personally, so we asked her a few more of our own questions:
1) What do you like to do outside the office?
“I love staying active, traveling, going to museums/galleries and eating. In my free time, I’m either playing tennis, trying a new workout class, skiing, hiking or playing a new sport (I’m picking up golf and squash at the moment). I’m a huge foodie as well and love trying all of the new hot spots in Los Angeles and Orange County.”
2) What valuable lessons do you find tennis teaches?
“Tennis was essential for shaping me into the person that I am today and I am fortunate that my father was so actively involved in supporting my participation in the sport. There are so many life lessons that tennis has taught me and has prepared me so well for so many of life’s challenges whether they be adversities that I have faced in my professional and professional life. My sport has given me the foundation to be self-reliant, resourceful, a strong work ethic and has given me a never-say-die attitude that I think is essential in succeeding in such a challenging field like brokerage.”
3) Why did you choose Cushman & Wakefield and what do you enjoy most about the company?
“I was looking for a company that ultimately invests in the growth and development of its young brokers. As I went through the interview process, I was drawn to the platform that Cushman & Wakefield had to offer as well as the resources that the company was providing on the training and mentorship side for its junior brokers. The more conversations I had with individuals at C&W, the more interested I became. Of all of the different firms and teams I met with, I was most impressed by the attention to detail that was given by its management—I greatly appreciated the detail given by when I told my current managers, Eric Paulsen and Andrew McDonald, about what I was looking for from a team and company standpoint. And I was fortunate to have been put in contact with my now senior partners, Rick Kaplan and Robert Lambert. After meeting with them, I knew that the junior broker role on their team at C&W was the right fit. I am so excited to be a part of such a great team and a distinguished institution like Cushman & Wakefield.”
4) Would you prefer reading about a great story or watching the movie version?
“Reading about a great story.”
5) A day at the beach or a day at the park?
“A day at Crystal Cove beach.”
6) What is your greatest advice to a young woman seeking a career in real estate?
“My advice is to set meetings with distinguished professionals in all facets of the industry as to understand what they did in order to distinguish themselves in their careers. I think that such conversations are essential when finding which career path that you wish to pursue. For me, I didn’t have any family or any connections in the industry, so I cold-called my alumni directory and spoke with as many brokers as I could, and such conversations ultimately led into interviews, which then landed me my first gig in real estate at JLL (prior to C&W).
And once you have secured your respective role, be sure to seek out at least two mentors, one inside and one outside of the company that you can rely on for sound advice. Mentorship is incredibly important and has had a huge impact on the growth and development in my career. I have been fortunate to have my parents as well as Nicole Welch at Clarion Partners be incredible mentors for me and their constant advice and support has been essential for the growth and development in my career. Another important part of this process involves active participation in industry groups both internally and externally to help refine one’s expertise and make new relationships.
Lastly, I would just add the constant process of learning and evolving has been essential in my progression and elevation in brokerage, and it’s been a thrilling process.”
Story by Joshua Deale, Senior Communications Specialist, Cushman & Wakefield